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Individuals, especially women, are getting together to amplify their giving by combining their contributions. Women make up nearly half of all identity-focused giving groups, but there are an increasing number of new groups of individuals forming giving circles, including Latino, Jewish and LGBTQ groups.


Giving circles, or groups, are where individuals combine their money for charitable donations so they can make a larger impact, has increased fourfold.


Giving circles, have donated at least $1.29 billion as of 2017, democratizing philanthropy by reallocating power over which charity gets a donation. Users pool their money so a diverse group of individuals is now allocating the money instead of one person. With giving groups, a person with few financial resources can make a difference just like a wealthy donor as each gets one vote. Long-term grants from major philanthropic organizations make a major impact, however, giving circles maximize engagement among a diverse group of people. Individuals in giving circles are often people who are not on the boards of foundations making long-term grants.


Giving circles also pool talents as well as contributions. When a group is evaluating charities, having a member who is a teacher help evaluate an educational organization or a person who was once homeless access a homeless charity is helpful to members. Teachers and former homeless persons may not have enough resources to make meaningful donations on their own.


Often, one or two individuals in a giving circle will take a class in how to analyze non-profit organizations. The group may appraise grant requests and then ask the most promising organizations to make a proposal to the group. It is especially helpful to have one or two members of the giving circle understand how to select organizations who can make good use of a grant as people have a tenancy to want to help everyone.


Giving better is often a reason women cite for joining giving groups. People want their donations to count as much as possible, especially in their local community. Most donations from giving circles benefit local organizations, with only a few state and nationwide organizations receiving funds. 


Giving circles engage more diverse groups of people, make donations more effective and democratizes giving. They also offer meaningful social networking opportunities which contribute to helping local charities thrive.